It’s an honor and a responsibility. Most scientists don’t think of themselves as role models, probably because we don’t interact much with kids younger than college age. But we know that our message will not get across if we are not respected, and we have to earn that respect by being clear, good at explaining tough concepts, and humble enough to know what we don’t know.
Kind of strange and really frightening! I often wonder how I got to be where I am – it is so far from anything I experienced or even knew about as a child and student that I never even could have imagined it!
It is crazy how many places I have gone and teachers and students know about Dr. Dirt because of my webpage and youtube videos. Some have even asked to have their pictures taken with me, making me a microcelebrity as a soil scientist.
So, what do I do now?
I want to be good at what I do.
I want to set a good example as a scientist and as a person.
I want to inspire other people, and especially students, to be curious, to be good environmental stewards, to pursue excellence, and to become scientists if they have the right temperament and skill set.